MANIFESTO OF CROSSED ONTOLOGIES
Everybody (and by everybody I don’t mean everybody I think I mean one person, and I mean you, in particular, because I dreamed about you last night and it surprised me to see you there like that - I can’t talk about it, ok I’ll tell you - you were sitting on my lap, that’s all, it was very innocent, you were sitting next to me and it made sense that I should put my arm around you but I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, but then you moved and turned toward me and set yourself down on my lap facing me, and that’s never happened before, it was exciting, and as I talked I wished I had some gum because I just had an espresso, and when I was talking you were tracing my lips with your fingers and all I could think was, “women are so mysterious who knows what they want,” and I woke up before we kissed, and I can’t even say who you are, because we might meet again and that would be awkward!), everybody - let’s go to the beach and make out by the waterside and let’s talk about how weird these past ten years have been. In this year, the year of the dog, can we please talk about how weird these past few years have been? Ten years now. That’s long enough.
We’ll talk about everything but the shootings, about how our country was taken hostage by false bravado (was it ten years ago now? was it 200, or 400? maybe back when god became a father for the first time - give that god a cigar). The future is female and the future is decidedly, beautifully, openly transgender. This is good news for everyone. The heat is off. We don’t have to pretend we’re ok when we’re afraid any more. We don’t have to worry about how their laughing at us will cost us all our pride, because those things don’t matter any more. In the future, the lives of our children will finally be worth more than our stiff upper lip or strong jawline or big hands or whatever stupid thing we use right now to measure something we never had. You know how it is here, you know how it is to be from somewhere else, you grew up speaking another language, you know what it’s like to exist in another language, and you know that it’s possible to exist in another language (not everyone who lives here right now knows that). (I don’t know if you’ll read this and know that it’s about you, I don’t know if you’ll read this and wonder if it’s about you, but I want everyone to read this and think that it’s about you, that the you who is reading is the you who it’s for, that’s what I want, it’s impossible, but it’s what I want). We can live in another language, and whatever we might miss from this one, we’ll find something else in that one, and we’ll forget what we miss. I used to want to miss, I liked the feeling, the añorando añorando añorando, but I didn’t mean miss, I meant kiss, this is just a kiss, this manifesto is only a kiss. It’s first base of this manifesto. Sorry for a sports metaphor, sorry for a patriarchal metaphor of conquering, conquer-ness, what’s the word: conquest. This is Poland, that is to say, nowhere, and I abolish all metaphors of conquest. Just kidding, Honey, I will not hush you.
I had no idea that drinking a mojito was appropriation. I had no idea that talking in another language was appropriation. I had no idea that talking to people who weren’t the same odd blend as me (Polish and Irish and German and maybe Syrian? and Spanish? and French and Luxembourgian)…I swear I didn’t know. And these Afro-Cuban deities in the pots in my living room? I can’t even. SMDH. (Oh, but honest, I cannot drink at all, it does not suit me at all, you can have my mojito, I’ll have an espresso, and I don’t think my giving a mojito to you is a way to soothe the ancestors who still want justice; they do, they certainly do, they gave me a machete and told me to help, but you don’t have to know what that means because the idea that you might learn and understand is an idea rooted in colonial attitudes, or something), I went to sleep when Reagan was not talking about United Fruit and I woke up when the ones who were supposed to be the underground revolutionaries of this generation are talking about how dare we talk about things that the voiceless are talking about, how we can’t speak until we listen to the voiceless, and they, the ones who speak for the voiceless, are talking so so loud I really cannot hear the voiceless at all, I cannot hear them at all in all of this, we need a room where we can all talk together and no one is trying to moderate the discussion, this is really what we want, what we really really want. I’m going to whisper ritual secrets into your ear when you sleep and you can whisper things that are peculiar to your lineage that you were told never to tell, and then once we say these things out loud…Sh, sh, keep it down, you know how voices carry when the wind is blowing like this, all up in our skirts and stockings and bolo ties like this, hot and bothering wind for a hot and bothery time.
The only orange I want in my future is the one that I leave by the river as an offering, no more troops wearing orange marching through the green part of town, no more orange faces talking white supremacist neofascist words, no more apartheid no more blood for oil no more hate no more hate. Everyone knows this and everyone says this, and we are still acting as if discourse could convince anyone of anything anymore. The only discourse in the future (where we just set out for, we are on the raft in the water and the place we left is behind us and we can’t see the shore anymore) is the love letter. All other arguments will be held on social media, that is to say, Nowhere, and they will be as effective as they always have been, and everyone will get rescue remedy drops on their noses after lunch time.
This is a love letter:
Listen, I want to come and visit you in your city, I want to come and live with you in your city because the last time I was there, we almost kissed, I think that was you, I think that was me, I thought that was us, we almost kissed, and we talked about art, and we talked about John Berger and Wangechi Mutu and Tino Sehgal and it was very nice, it was paradise. We don’t get to talk like that here. They tell me that I’m too hard to understand, and the critic that loved me just died. I don’t remember if everyone in your city understood me, but I remember that you understood me, and that means the world to me.
You, and by you, I think I mean everybody, let’s go meet by the ocean and make out. Let’s all talk about everything but the shootings, let’s talk about Bryan Adams’ songwriting and we’ll get lost in each other’s words and we’ll spill our grape icees at our feet when we do kiss. In the future you’ll ask me about my checkered vans and I’ll ask you to do that accent again, we’ll hear ice cream trucks in the background and everything will smell like the soap store in the mall. In the future we’ll have body positive pinups and we’ll all live somewhere that even the police don’t need guns and dogs will be welcome in all the cafes, and all the cafes will be named after our favorite writers, and we’ll read them in their original languages, and we’ll all be speaking to each other in our original languages, and when we don’t understand each other, we know we will have to figure each other out together. And in the future, we will kiss. Not through glass and not through plastic, right on the lips, right in front of the bakers and the bankers and the barking dogs and everybody.
I propose: dark hot sweet kisses to make every night feel like the rainy summer night in the parking lot when you were 16 and didn’t know anything. I propose an art that speaks through and across bloodlines, in incomplete translations, impossible to grasp completely, but one where you might be able to sense the complexities involved, and once you sense this, your sense is involved in it, you cannot untangle yourself from the thing, This is an African ontology. This is not a European art form. But Europe is in it. And Latin America is in it. Or we are in an America that is Latin, or Latin inflected (or European-infected). And the local spirits here are Navajo (I don’t mean all of here, just right here, exactly here, according to what a Navajo shaman told me). This is a construction authored by Borges, designed by Xu Solar, performed by Teresa Margolles, with a running video commentary by Hito Steyerl, and everybody who is here is here to make this work, and there are no walls to keep you out and we will sacrifice everything to keep you here, if you want to be here. This is a future where we can shift ontologies, where crossing borders is expected, and crossing them in unique ways is encouraged. Race and class and gender are not simply structures that we can step out of if we only free our minds enough, that is stupid and naive and privileged. However. When we are free, and we are only free when we are all free, this is that kind of Buddhism, when we are free, we are not only free in the material realm, but free to find ourselves having been limited by three dimensions. All roads lead to Rome (aha, that’s something, that Rome, the devil might find us there looking super stylish and talking about Michelangelo), and all strings lead to four or more dimensions. SO THAT: Speaking of Rome, that reminds me of Peter Sellars (oh that’s a clue, that’s a big clue, I need to disguise this so much better in the second draft). Peter Sellars channeled a spirit. That’s not unusual. These kinds of things should not be considered unusual. These kinds of practices have their own ritual ontologies in every culture (only vultures guard the door to cultures), and it would be so nice if we could talk about this. We really really need to talk about this. We need to talk because when we talk we’re connecting the dots, we’re connecting the dogs of the dead with the dogs of the living, when we talk we might talk close enough to kiss, and then once our saliva gets all over each other then we are really stuck in this together. SO THAT: We need stickier situations. We need art that looks through from out into across continents and cultures and it needs to come from the mud where the blood of the dead doesn’t sleep, we need an art practice that is not dry, but wet enough to anticipate the friction, and any goddess whoever created anything with honey knows, “Honey, you’re going to need some friction.” It has to be by someone who sees things less romantically than I do, but I would like to come, I would certainly like to be there, making something somewhere, because when I take a break, I can talk to you, and you, you can tell me anything. I won’t hush you.
SO THAT: In the future, the future is female and the future is transgender and don’t worry about the fathers they will be ok, they will still have things to make themselves feel ok don’t worry about them. Give that mother a cigar, give that goddess the biggest cigar we have, give all the mothers all the cigars, not because they’re lacking but because I just had an espresso, and with your feet up on your desk like that and the stogie in your teeth like that, I just cant resist listening to you, tell me how this next century is supposed to work. This beach is your studio (thank you for letting us make out in your studio, by the way).
This morning, the first morning in the future: I am telling my mechanic about the benefits of yin yoga twice a week when you’re also doing a yoga practice that makes you sweat. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what a camshaft is, I don’t know if I can tell when the bearings are shot, and I don’t know if I can drive with the gasket the way it is (I know I can look these things up, but I’ll forget, I did look them up just before now and I already forgot), and I used to care what I rode in on, it used to be a motorcycle and now it’s a car that’s too big for me (but not for my big hands haha) and if it stopped, if it fell apart altogether and I had to keep going, I could, I could just keep moving forward, I could have an espresso and keep moving forward because let’s face it I move like a gazelle.